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Archive for Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Eudora woman sentenced to probation for lying to obtain federal benefits

November 20, 2012

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A 58-year-old Eudora woman was sentenced to five years' probation last week in federal court for making a false statement that allowed her to receive about $61,000 in Social Security disability benefits for which she was not eligible.

Sheery Regalado was also ordered to pay back the $61,000 worth of benefits she received.

As part of the plea deal earlier this year, Regalado admitted to telling the Social Security Administration in 2007 that her husband did not live with her even though he did, which resulted in her receiving benefits she was not eligible to receive from August 2000 to July 2011. According to the plea, she also told investigators Regalado had access to a joint bank account with her husband.

Prosecutors said Social Security investigators need to know the number of residents living in a household and the income available to determine the monthly amount a recipient is eligible to receive.

Comments

Pepe 2 years, 1 month ago

Probation is not enough for this lowlife.

The restitution order is probably meaningless as I doubt this woman has two nickels to rub together, much less $61k.

somedude20 2 years, 1 month ago

If you want people to stop ripping off the Govt then when stuff like this happens, throw the (heavy) book at them otherwise the reward is greater than the risk.

Pepe 2 years, 1 month ago

I would argue that the cost of a year or two of prison for this woman would be warranted in the sense that it would send a clear message to others that might be considering welfare fraud -- in other words, the cost of jail for this woman might save much more money by sending a message to potential fraudsters that, if you commit welfare fraud, you will go to jail.

I would also argue that decisions to imprison/not imprison should not be based primarily on financial considerations. If we looked only at the cost of imprisonment when determining whether to send someone to jail, then very few people would go to jail. There are some crimes (this being one of them) for which some prison time is appropriate, regardless of the cost.

jafs 2 years, 1 month ago

I completely disagree.

Prison should be reserved for violent offenders, in my view.

Restitution is the best outcome in cases like this.

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

We three meals a day and a bed to criminals while we ignore people sleeping hungry on the street.

Deb Engstrom 2 years, 1 month ago

If they send her to prison, there's no way she'll pay any of it back -- plus be on welfare when she gets out because she won't be able to get a job. This makes more sense.

Pepe 2 years, 1 month ago

That should have been one of the conditions of her probation or sentence -- no more welfare benefits from this point forward.

deec 2 years, 1 month ago

She didn't defraud "welfare." She defrauded Social Security. She wasn't very good at it, though. Had she been a medical provider, perhaps she'd have got away with millions.

"WASHINGTON -- A federal strike force has charged 91 people, including doctors and nurses, in seven cities with Medicare fraud schemes involving $429 million in false billings.

At a news conference, Attorney General Eric Holder says the case reveals an alarming trend of criminal attempts to steal billions of taxpayer dollars for personal gain. Holder called Thursday's action against Medicare fraud one of the largest of its kind."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/medicare-fraud-billing-scheme_n_1940253.html

Pepe 2 years, 1 month ago

Are you suggesting that social security disability is not a form of welfare?

deec 2 years, 1 month ago

Nope, it's not.

Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are "insured," meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.

http://www.ssa.gov/disability/

Pepe 2 years, 1 month ago

Wrong -- from the SSA's website-- "SSI is the nation's largest welfare program . . . while SSI benefits totaled $31 billion, more than 80% of which went to persons with disabilities." I can't link from this phone but the above is from the SSA website under policy, social security bulletin 65, number 3.

deec 2 years, 1 month ago

SSD does not have income eligibility, so it is not what is normally thought of as welfare. It is no more welfare than old-age social security. SSDI does have income requirements, so it could properly be considered welfare. "Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) is a payroll tax-funded, federal insurance program of the United States government. It is managed by the Social Security Administration and is designed to provide income supplements to people who are physically restricted in their ability to be employed because of a notable disability, usually a physical disability. "

However, the original article is about Social Security fraud. People are wanting to hang this woman for stealing a mere 60 grand. The true fraud is being committed by medical providers.

globehead 2 years, 1 month ago

SSI is NOT Social Security. This is NOT what the article claimed she got. It's an entirely different program. It is a form of welfare. It is NOT the program she defrauded.

Pepe 2 years, 1 month ago

Not correct. From the SSA website under policy/Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 65, number 3: "SSI is the nation's largest welfare program . . . while SSI benefits totaled $31 billion, more than 80% of which went to persons with disabilities".

Katara 2 years, 1 month ago

SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) are not the same thing. Since you have gone to the SSA website, you'll notice that there are several tabs - Retirement, Disability, Survivors, SSI & Medicare. They are separate programs under the Social Security Administration.

This may help you understand the difference more.

"SSDI benefits base your benefit amount on your average lifetime earnings (or those of certain family members) when those earnings are insured under Social Security. However, if you receive a payment from worker's compensation, a public disability benefit, or a pension based on earnings not insured  under Social Security, it may reduce your benefit; and
SSI benefits depend on financial need as determined by your income, resources, and living situation."

http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/2028

Kathy Getto 2 years, 1 month ago

The article should have been clearer about the type of benefit she was receiving. SSDI payments are not based on income. She obviously said she had no other income which made her eligible for SSI and possibly food stamps and medical care.

bad_dog 2 years, 1 month ago

SSDI payments are "based" on income in the sense that financial eligibility for these benefits arises from having a certain number of earnings quarters prior to becoming disabled. The monthly benefit payment amount is determined by your prior earnings history during that period.

Kathy Getto 2 years ago

True, however a husband's income has no bearing.

Katara 2 years, 1 month ago

SSDI is the same thing as Social Security - an insurance program. You can see how much you would receive monthly on the Social Security statements you receive 3 months before your birthday based on what you have paid in & based on the number of credits you have accrued.

Loretta James 2 years, 1 month ago

no it's not that is a fund that you pay into. That would be like saying a 401k is welfare

globehead 2 years, 1 month ago

Exactly! It is NOT welfare. The proper name is Old Age Survivors Disability Insurance (OASDI). It is paid for via employer/employee contributions. It is insurance. The article indicated she ripped off Social Security disability which would be akin to insurance fraud. Had she ripped of the Supplemental Security Income system (SSI), which goes to support those who are ineligible for OASDI but are nevertheless disabled, then it may be accurate to claim she ripped off welfare. The article, however, did not report such. Thus, to claim she was a welfare cheat would not be accurate. Many folks confuse SSI with Social Security because the program is administered by the Social Security Administration as their disability criteria are used to determine eligibility. They are NOT however the same program at all. If a person works only a very few years and then becomes disabled, they may receive a combination of both programs as they would not have built up much OASDI eligibility and a majority of the SSA (OASDI) benefits would be applied against the SSI benefits.

bad_dog 2 years, 1 month ago

I don't believe the SSA would care whether her husband resided with her if this was merely an SSD claim. Her eligibility for SSD is determined solely by being disabled from substantial gainful employment and recording the requisite number of earnings quarters prior to her disability, not who resides with her. If she has dependent children, they could also qualify for benefits under her claim.

Pepe 2 years, 1 month ago

Absolutely agree with you that the folks cited in the articles you cited are dirty and should be prosecuted and receive harsh punishments. However, that does not mean the the Eudora woman did not commit "real" fraud. They are all fraudsters and they all deserve to be punished.

deec 2 years, 1 month ago

I don;t disagree. I just think people were way overreacting to her sentence when she stole a mere pittance compared to the tens of billions of dollars stolen annually by medical providers, including some large corporations.

Pepe 2 years, 1 month ago

And the medical providers and persons at the corporations responsible for the fraud should go to jail also. Fraud is fraud.

deec 2 years, 1 month ago

That's akin to saying someone who steals a candy bar is as big a crook as a banker who steals millions of dollars. It's a matter of perspective.

notorious_agenda 2 years, 1 month ago

What about 100 million candy bar thefts vs a banker who steals millions of dollars? Your comparison is not accurate to reality. There are millions of people reporting false information without a doubt.

KS 2 years, 1 month ago

Comment totally uncalled for. It is folks like you that give the "left" a bad name.

Amy Heeter 2 years, 1 month ago

I hate to break it to you all, but she is still disabled and eligible for benefits. The probelm was that she did not claim her spouses income. She will still receive benefits and SA WILL deduct a portion for over payment. America!!!!

Caz Snwot 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm not sure if this is true, but I am assuming you know this person to some degree. On that note you bring up a good point... Would it hurt the LJWorld to do some actual investigative reporting. Have a little chat with the suspect and find out the reasons leading her to do this in the first place. Perhaps this would give readers a better understanding of the multitude of problems with our current government organizations... And with the current state of affairs we could open the forum for a discourse on the welfare of our own community and the American community. But no, instead they write a little 100 word blip about (what they make sound like) some lady trying to rip off the system, and now the morons of Douglas county will just sit around and talk about how we should be giving this "lowlife" jail time.

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